There’s an overwhelming amount of data demonstrating how cigarettes damage your health. We have evidence proving that smoking harms your lungs, your heart, and your entire body. It causes lifelong health problems and can lead to premature death. Cigarettes cause more than 400,000 deaths in the United States annually. It is the largest preventable cause of death. People don’t really debate the negative effects of smoking cigarettes, though. It’s generally accepted that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. But what about e-cigarettes?
Many people believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. The effects of e-cigarettes are still largely unknown, however, and they should not be considered healthy.
How e-cigarettes work
Cigarettes deliver nicotine and chemicals in the form of smoke from burning tobacco leaves. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine and chemicals in the form of vapor from a vaporized fluid mixture.
An e-cigarette consists of a battery, a fluid cartridge – containing a mixture of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals – and a heating device known as a vaporizer. When used, the liquid is heated, which creates vapor that’s inhaled.
What we don’t know about e-cigarettes could hurt us
E-cigarettes are a relatively new product, and there’s still a lot that we don’t yet know about the long term health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping. We have decades of studies and data showing the negative health effects of smoking, but there simply isn’t enough research on e-cigarettes yet.
While more research needs to be done to understand how vaping affects a person’s health, it’s safe to say that e-cigarette vapor is not safe.
Since e-cigarettes produce vapor rather than smoke, they look healthier. However, e-cigarette vapor still contains nicotine – a highly addictive drug – carcinogens, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde.
E-cigarette use among youth and adolescents
Last year, the Surgeon General released a report stating that e-cigarette use among youth is a significant public health concern.
More high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes, and more high school students use e-cigarettes than adults. According to the FDA, more than 3 million middle school and high school students use e-cigarettes.
The Arkansas Department of Health issued a Public Health Advisory regarding e-cigarettes. They advise caution when considering e-cigarettes and vaporizers for a number of reasons, including that fact that they contain chemicals known to be harmful as well as chemicals with unknown health effects.
One study found that 81% of youth e-cigarette users said the main reason they use e-cigarettes was because of the flavors that are available.
Be sure to talk to your kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaporizers. While e-cigarettes may seem like a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes, they are not healthy.